How to start earning money as a freelance writer

how to start earning money as a freelancer

So you can write, you know your SEO tricks and you want to start earning money writing content. How and where do you start? How do you find paying clients? I have been writing full-time now for a number of years as a freelancer and today I want to share some tips on how to get started on freelance platform Fiverr.

Taking the leap and starting out as a freelancer

I remember two years ago, when I registered as self-employed and I felt just like you: eager to start earning money by writing content for others, but not really having an idea where to find clients. I started out by making a website and a Facebook page for myself and my new business, and posted a lot in local Facebook groups, where I knew some clients may hang out. I also posted on my personal timeline, to share my news within my own network of friends and family. I soon got a few writing jobs, which I then could add to my portfolio. Client reviews helped my credibility and this is how I grew my profile.

how to start earning money as a freelancer

Finding clients on Fiverr

How I really started to find paying clients outside my own network however, was through Fiverr. This is one of the best know freelancer platforms on the internet, and gives you access to clients worldwide. It is free to join and set up a profile. You then create your ‘shopfront’ of gigs, including any writing packages you want to offer. Below an example of my own product page.

How to offer packages on Fiverr

The best way to attract clients to your page is to offer packages. What does this mean? When you look at my product page, for example, you see that the prices are quite low for the jobs. The trick is, however, to make potential clients click on your profile and take a closer look at what you are offering. When they see the different packages, they will discover that the lower price is for your Basic package. In the basic package you offer something you can do for them at a relatively low price. That is fine, of course, but they are probably looking for more help.

Upselling your skills to earn more

The key is to make the client want to order the Standard or even Premium package, because they see that for a little more money, they will actually get what they are really after. To find out what to charge for each package, it is best to browse the different profiles and packages of the other freelancers on Fiverr and see how you compare.

These are the packages I offer for content writing at the moment, but you could design it differently of course. Perhaps you want to only offer 250 words in your basic package for a low price, for example, to get people to click on your gig.

Creating custom orders on Fiverr

The packages are one way of selling your services, but I find that most of my clients ask for custom orders. This is great, because you can then give them exactly what they want, tweak your offer and adjust pricing where possible. How to create custom orders on Fiverr? Once you are in conversation with someone in your message thread, you will see the button ‘Create an Offer’. You click this, and you can then explain to your client what you will do for them and at what price. If the client is happy, they will accept and you can start the job! If the offer is on-point and the price is fair, nine out of ten times the client places the order. Do make sure to give yourself enough time to finish the job, so you don’t get stressed out and miss the deadline. If you pass the deadline you have set yourself, this will have a negative impact on your seller level. No need for this 😉

How to become a lever 1 seller on Fiverr

The tricky bit? Competition is high. In order to get seen and go up in the ranks, you’ll have to work hard at the beginning. How you do this? The first few gigs I offered, I did for a lower price than my going rate. Yes, it does feel like being handed a wet handkerchief at the end of the job, but see it as an investment. If you deliver great work, these people will leave five-star reviews. The more reviews, the better it looks. Also, you will want to work toward reaching your Top Rated Seller status, as this again makes you stand out more, get better clients and higher paying jobs. This will take a while. First things first. To get from no-level to Level 1 seller status, you have to reach these first milestones:

  • At least 10 orders
  • Earn at least $400 (Fiverr works in USD)
  • Response rate: Respond to 90% of the inquiries you received in the last 60 days
  • Order Completion Rate: Complete 90% of your orders, over the course of 60 days
  • On-time Delivery: Deliver 90% of your orders on time, over the course of 60 days
  • Rating: Maintain a 4.7 star rating, over the course of 60 days

How much does Fiverr take from your earnings?

Now the downside of Fiverr: they take a hefty 20% off your earnings. Yep. That hurts. Or if you are a ‘glass-half-full’ kind of person and prefer to look on the bright side: you get to keep 80% of your earnings. The good thing is, you never have to chase up invoices or non-paying clients. Buyers have to pay upfront for you to receive the order. Once you complete a buyer’s order, the money is transferred to your Fiverr account, which you can then withdraw or transfer to your own bank account. No need to chase clients for payments and wait 60 or 90 days for a check.

Have you got an accounting programme yet?

As a freelancer you will have to start keeping track of not just your earnings, but also your expenses. Finding a good accounting software programme is a life-saver. Newly launched platform And.Co by Fiverr is one of those and worth a look. This online software programme is great for you as a freelancer in terms of invoicing any other clients you have outside Fiverr. It also gives you options to keep track of expenses and time, and send nicely formatted proposals to clients, etc. A great feature is that it accepts payments directly from your invoice. You can give it a go for FREE by signing up for the basic account, which gives you the opportunity try out the suite of options and to invoice one client. If you like it, you can upgrade for $18 per month for a pro account for unlimited clients.

Try out And.Co for free


Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links that I receive a small commission for at no cost to you. I only ever recommend products that I love and would use myself also.

Published by Nina’s Apartment blog

Creative thinker, digital nomad, freelance writer.

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